Feeds

You want a medal for writing a script? Sure: here it is!

Developer explains how Perl and Excel code earned him the US Army Commendation Medal

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Software engineer and Arizon Army National Guard member Vivin Paliath has explained how writing some Perl and Excel macros saw him decorated with the Army Commendation Medal, a decoration awarded “to any member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself by heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service.”

Paliath served a tour of duty in Iraq during 2005 and 2006 in a unit that operated lots of vehicles. As he explains in a post about his experiences, “My job was to order parts for mechanics, pick them up, return old parts, manage HAZMAT, dispatch/return vehicles from missions, and handle licenses.”

During pre-tour training, Paliath was introduced to the application he'd be required to use, called “ULLS-G (Unit Level Logistics System – Ground)".

The software ran in in DOS, did not offer a point-and-click interface and offered no batch processing. The last omission was galling, because it made for lots of tedious work.

“Let’s say you had to print out [driving] licenses for soldiers in your unit,” Paliath writes. “You had to go through and print out each license one by one. You’d go to a screen to load up a user’s license by entering their license number, and then you had to print it. Our unit had around 150 soldiers, so to print everyone’s licenses, I had to individually look up each soldier and then print his license.”

By happy accident, Paliath says “I stumbled across a page where someone had posted an ODBC driver for ULLS-G. This meant that I could run SQL queries against the ULLS-G data files.”

“Armed with this, I started writing Perl scripts to query the data. By the time we had reached Iraq, I had a working script that generated licenses as text files for all the soldiers. The script only took a second or two to run, and the longest part of the process was simply printing out the licenses.”

Another of Paliath's regular tasks was creating daily reports describing the condition of his unit's vehicles. Manual data entry to an Excel spreadsheets was the order of the day until he figure out that Excel was comfortable importing data from ODBC-enabled sources. One Macro later and daily reports were populated in moments.

Paliath writes that he was not supposed to undertake this work for security reasons, but that once his superiors appreciated the productivity improvements he had enabled they turned a blind eye.

His staff sergeant also noticed his work because, at the end of his tour, the certificate accompanying his Army Commendation Medal specifically mentioned his khaki coding efforts.

Paliath writes he was surprised to receive the commendation because he hardly ever went off base, and therefore worked in relative safety. “Although I didn’t work on any of it for recognition, it’s still a good feeling when you find out that your work is appreciated,” he says. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.